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New Challenge for Press: U.S. Planning War on
By E&P Staff
Published: April 08, 2006 12:05 PM
NEW YORK The United States is planning a
massive bombing campaign against Iran, including possible use of bunker-buster
nuclear bombs to destroy a suspected--but far from proven--nuclear weapons
facility, The New Yorker magazine will report in its April 17 issue.
The article is written by famed investigative
journalist Seymour Hersh. He writes that, as in Iraq, a driving force in the
scenario is "regime change."
One of the options
under consideration involves the possible use of a bunker-buster tactical
nuclear weapon, such as the B61-11, to insure the destruction of Iran's main
centrifuge plant at Natanz, Hersh writes.
Sunday, The Washington Post carried its own piece on Iran, affirming that the
Bush administration "is studying options for military strikes against Iran as
part of a broader strategy of coercive diplomacy to pressure Tehran to abandon
its alleged nuclear development program, according to U.S. officials and
"No attack appears likely in
the short term, and many specialists inside and outside the U.S. government
harbor serious doubts about whether an armed response would be effective. But
administration officials are preparing for it as a possible option."
Bush and others in the White House have come to view
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a potential Adolf Hitler, Hersh reveals
in The New Yorker.
The Hersh article opens: "The
Bush Administration, while publicly advocating diplomacy in order to stop Iran
from pursuing a nuclear weapon, has increased clandestine activities inside Iran
and intensified planning for a possible major air attack.
"Current and former American military and intelligence officials said
that Air Force planning groups are drawing up lists of targets, and teams of
American combat troops have been ordered into Iran, under cover, to collect
targeting data and to establish contact with anti-government ethnic-minority
groups. The officials say that President Bush is determined to deny the Iranian
regime the opportunity to begin a pilot program, planned for this spring, to
A senior unnamed Pentagon adviser
is quoted in the article as saying that "this White House believes that the only
way to solve the problem is to change the power structure in Iran, and that
means war." The former intelligence officials depicts planning as "enormous,"
"hectic" and "operational."
Hersh writes: "A
government consultant with close ties to the civilian leadership in the Pentagon
said that Bush was 'absolutely convinced that Iran is going to get the bomb' if
it is not stopped. He said that the President believes that he must do 'what no
Democrat or Republican, if elected in the future, would have the courage to do,'
and 'that saving Iran is going to be his legacy.'
"One former defense official, who still deals with sensitive issues
for the Bush Administration, told me that the military planning was premised on
a belief that 'a sustained bombing campaign in Iran will humiliate the religious
leadership and lead the public to rise up and overthrow the government.'"
But the former senior intelligence official said the
attention given to the nuclear option has created serious misgivings inside the
military, and some officers have talked about resigning. "There are very strong
sentiments within the military against brandishing nuclear weapons against other
countries," Hersh quotes the Pentagon adviser.
adviser warned that bombing Iran could provoke "a chain reaction" of attacks on
American facilities and citizens throughout the world and might also reignite
"If we go, the southern half of Iraq will light up
like a candle."
A senior Pentagon adviser on the
war on terror told Hersh: “This White House believes that the only way to solve
the problem is to change the power structure in Iran, and that means war.” The
danger, he said, was that “it also reinforces the belief inside Iran that the
only way to defend the country is to have a nuclear capability.”